Telltale has become the big name among adventure games these days, and they usually do their own thing. However, they occasionally take outside talent under their wing and allow for some odd games published. One of those games would be Hector: Badge of Carnage, a three episode game made by an Irish animation company named Straandlooper. It's a far ways away from their children targeted television. Hector is one of the raunchiest games to ever be put under Telltale's banner.
The game follows the titular Hector, a detective in England's Clappers Wreake, the worst town in the nation by a long mile. It's filled with the worst human scum imaginable, and now a terrorist is sniping at people from an abandoned building with hostages. Hector is called out to deal with the situation, and after getting duped in the first episode, he takes it upon himself to catch the criminal single-handedly out of spite. To do so, he needs to visit such places as a pornography store, an armory and nail salon, and "Furry Furnace." Don't worry, it's just a church themed strip club.
Hector's entire style is full of distaste, cynicism, and karmic cruelty. It's very hit an miss, but it fires out so many jokes and one-liners that eventually something hits, especially in the later two episodes. A fat stripper with low self-esteem, just mean-spirited. It's also incredibly British, from the vocab to the voice acting, and one puzzle requires you give a man the British flag to use as toilet paper. How can you get more British? The cultural barrier is low as well, as the characters on display are pretty universal to any western country.
Hector himself makes for a great lead, a self-centered ass who only manages to be the hero of the story because at least he's more honest and rather harmless compared to the villain. At the same time, he's glutinous, lazy, self-loathing, perverted, and hostile to most people he meets. That feels justified, looking at where he lives, and he ends up being more relatable than I'd like to admit. It helps he has a good sense of humor, as the script gives him tons of great lines to work with. He's offset by Lambert in the later two episodes, an incompetent and kindhearted doormat of an officer that proves himself shockingly incompetent in hilarious ways. There's a point where he meets a man tied up in the back of a car, and it takes him many, many dialog options to realize he's supposed to take the tape off the guy's mouth to talk to him. It's great.
The game's sense of humor wraps itself entirely around having to deal with either awful people or confronting uncomfortable realities of reality. Poor people, drug addicts, criminals, sex workers, scumbag celebrities, losers in the rat race, incompetent government workers, and so on. Everyone is either terrible in some way, or pitiable and a bit sympathetic, yet made a joke because of it. It's the humor of someone looking around the screwed up world and themselves, and then laughing about it to cope. The humor works best when it punches up or focuses on idiotic people, but gets a bit too mean-spirited at times, especially whenever sex workers are the butt of the joke. Some of the humor feels lazy, and other bits surprisingly inspired in its low brow way. A man walking away with cement shoes because the cop helping him would probably solve the issue slower than it would take to walk back to town weighed down is honestly a little shocking. The first episode is easily the weakest (outside highlights in the porn shop), but the next two episodes improve things, especially with a bit more absurdity mixed in.
As far as point and clicks go, the game is well made. The puzzles have logical answers, but also have some tricky elements to them, especially in episode two. Cause and effect plays a huge role in figuring these out, as with any classic point and click, but require a bit more attention to detail than you'd expect. There's a lot of jokes based around puzzles not going according to expectations, plus pretty funny tutorials in the latter episodes where Hector starts to argue with the on-screen text wasting his time. It's surprisingly clever how well the game mixes comedy and puzzles together at times, and it doesn't skimp on dialog. There's tons of talk to have with the entire cast, almost all of it unnecessary, but it adds a lot of life and energy to the game.
Hector feels very rich and lived in, and has a good amount of content, clocking in about six to eight hours. There is a hint system in the game, and by hint system, we mean a walkthrough. All the answers are there if you want them, but said walkthrough can also only give you vague hints to point you in the right direction unless you ask further for straight answers. Also, the walkthrough is from Hector himself, and it insults you for using it, which is way funnier than it should be. There's no better way for this sort of game to offer an easy out for newer players, and it's up there with Ryu Hayabusa constantly getting emasculated in easy mode.
This is definitely a game with limited appeal. Its humor is designed to be offensive and force out laughs by poking at the player. If you hate that sort of humor, skip it. If you don't mind those sorts of jokes, though, you may like this a good deal. It was a mixed experience at first, but it picks up around the second episode. If you need to know if this game is for you, here's one noteworthy scenario:
In episode three, a leprechaun that only Lambert can see has a bag of nuts (the tool variety) you need to continue. It appears as a stump around Hector, but this also means you can lay a bear trap next to him as Hector. Then, come back as Lambert, and you can get the nuts because the little bugger is caught in a bear trap and in horrible pain, and Lambert suddenly feels that his victory was hollow.
If that was amusing to you on any level, you may just enjoy this one.